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Home > Blog > The Internet is the CB Radio of the '90s
Out of Our Minds
Wednesday, August 03, 2005 3:04 PM
The Internet is the CB Radio of the '90s
Anita Sharpe on Business

Wouldn't you hate to be the person known for that quote? Kevin Kelly -- one of the most prescient writers around -- resurrected the statement (made a decade ago by a senior VP at ABC) in a great piece in this month's Wired magazine.

The main point of the story? How even the smartest people couldn't predict the way the Web would evolve and, going forward, how this 'gargantuan Machine' linking virtually every person and human activity on the planet 'will evolve into an integral extension not only of our senses and bodies but our minds,' Kelly writes.

'There is only one time in the history of each planet when its inhabitants first wire up its innumerable parts to make one large Machine,' Kelly writes. 'Later that Machine may run faster, but there is only one time when it is born. You and I are alive at this moment. We should marvel, but people alive at such times usually don't.'

Most of us fail to recognize huge cultural shifts until they smack us in the face. And then we fail to marvel. Why is that?


1 comment

Whitney - 8/3/2005 9:15:33 PM
When I was finishing grad school, the 'Net was the command-line-driven domain of the guys in the computer science department. There was e-mail of a fashion, and FTP, and you bought the computer guys dinner if you wanted to learn about the 'Net.

Not two years later, I worked for a computer magazine when Windows 95 hit the scene. Plug-and-Play hardware installation was huge. Most of our readers struggled to figure out what the Internet was. In the 2-1/2 years at the magazine, it was astounding how much the coverage of the Web changed and how exponentially the number of Web sites grew. I saw it happening, realized I was in the middle of something big, and still couldn't quite believe it.

Ten years ago, I wrote about setting up local-area networks for our business users; the home users were grappling with installing a faster modem, and they had their hands full with one PC. Now, I write articles about setting up wireless networks at home because our readers have two or more computers, family members compete for Internet access, and someone has a laptop that travels with them so they can access the Web from anywhere. I never stop being amazed at how quickly things change.

I feel sorry for today's kids, because I doubt that they marvel about the technological changes. And because technology has always been part of their young lives, I don't think they realize the cultural shifts. And it's a shame.

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